The saga over tourism funding in San Diego took an unexpected twist last week when the San Diego Tourism Authority, which markets the destination to meeting planners, announced that it would close its doors on June 3 after Mayor Bob Filner said he would not release the funds it needed to operate. But an 11th hour agreement averted the shutdown and now it’s back to business as usual.
It’s been a bumpy road since December when the agreed to a deal in April that would release $30 million to the authority for tourism marketing, but as a condition of the deal, Filner asked that a portion of the funds be used to underwrite the city’s 2015 Centennial Celebration at Balboa Park.between the city and the Tourism Marketing District, the funding mechanism for tourism marketing, expired.The two sides finally
However, last Wednesday, according to local reports, Filner announced that he was withholding the funding until he was assured that the TMD was holding up its end of the bargain and funding the celebration.
That prompted the San Diego Tourism Authority (formerly the San Diego CVB) to announce on Thursday that it would close its doors on June 3 because it couldn’t operate without the funding, stated an article in U-T San Diego. About 85 people on the staff would have been out of work.
Filner responded by firing off a terse statement directed at the hotel community. “I’ve had enough of the whining and complaining from the wealthiest hotels in America. We will issue their money when they hold up their end of the bargain, for example, approving funds for the Balboa Park Centennial.”
But by Friday, the dispute between the mayor’s office and the TMD had been settled with the TMD voting to allocate the centennial celebration funds, according to a U-T San Diego article.
And no one was more pleased than the San Diego Tourism Authority.
“With the city’s reported release of tourism marketing funds, the planned closure of the San Diego Tourism Authority on Monday, June 3 has been cancelled,” stated Todd Shallan, chairman of the SDTA’s Board of Directors. “We will be open for business, continuing our important work to attract visitors to one of the finest tourist destinations in the world. The Tourism Authority would like to thank Mayor Filner and the Tourism Marketing District for resolving this matter.”